Ross Sea Protection Creates Largest Marine Reserve In The World

Environmental issues have been high on the agenda at major political meetings over the past few years and last week we received the most encouraging sign yet that nations can come together to act upon these concerns. At the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, it was announced that 598,000 square miles of the Ross Sea will be placed under protection from December the 1st 2017. This comes after China and Russia both withdrew their objections on the establishment of a reserve this size.

This means that fishing will be banned in around 72% of the outlined area, with the remainder being open to procuring Antarctic toothfish - a fish which, like its cousin the Patagonian toothfish, has undergone a fantastically successful marketing campaign to be sold as Chilean sea bass. With penguins, whales and seals amongst the mammals which rely on the rich supplies of krill and plankton in these waters, the preservation will mean there is minimal damage to the eco-system and food chain.

This large bay to the south of the Antarctic continent is one of the few places on the planet that are vastly unexplored by humans. Many weird and wonderful creatures make their home here, including fish with chemicals in their blood that stop it from freezing, colossal squid thought to reach up to ten metres and sea spiders the size of a dinner plate.

After five years of discussion, it was Russia who finally made a U-turn after first voicing concerns about putting a blanket fishing ban across such a large area of water. Along with this, President Vladimir Putin has also announced that Russia will be increasing preservation within the Arctic, declaring 2017 a Year of Ecology for the country.

We have a small number of polar cruises that can take you into the Ross Sea, allowing you to see this new reserve – the world’s largest Marine Protected Area. For more information on these or any of our other expeditions, contact our team today.

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